6-2/274 Penn State
Pros: Has a nice first step with the speed to turn the corner. Shows a nice inside move off the edge. Shows some potential to drop back into coverage and play in space. Can sniff out screens and can make plays in pursuit, Shows nice strength with bull rush potential and ability to get leverage vs. the run.
Cons: Has poor recognition and doesn't do a good job playing contain on the edge. Needs to be better at the point of attack and gets engulfed by bigger blocks. Doesn't get off blocks that well. Doesn't have a great motor. Can be slow off the snap and doesn't consistently show speed or burst to turn the corner.
Overview: Evans has good potential, but had a poor junior year and raises questions about his commitment. He was overshadowed and outclassed by Aaron Maybin this past year. Had 12.5 sacks as a sophomore, but only 3 this past year. He was suspended for 3 games during the season after marijuana was found in his apartment.
NFL Forecast: He has the potential to be a starter at the next level, but whether he'll work to become one is a big question. If I had to guess, I think the answer is no. Is the type of player that does a nice job as a situational pass rusher and then lands a big contract in free agency and goes back to being underwhelming. I wouldn't want to rely on him to be a starter for my team. He shows some athletic potential to play in space, but I don't think it's worth the effort to really try and develop him there. He'd be a project as a 3-4 linebacker, and he already is one as a 4-3 end.
ATL Forecast: Evans could contribute off the bench in Atlanta, but doubtful he'd be consistent or reliable enough to be a starter. He'd ﬂash potential and would do well coming from the other side with Abe opposite him. But more than likely the moment Abe stepped off the field, he would disappear.
Value: Evans ﬂashes first day potential, but you'd be setting yourself up for disappointment if you took him that early. Instead, you should wait until the fifth or sixth round to take the sting out.
Scouting Reports of defensive ends in the 2009 NFL Draft.
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